Advancing the Strategostructure

Massive development projects increasingly involve complex program mixes and/or public-private ventures, where design by a single architect is arguably not advantageous or even possible. Furthermore, the political processes surrounding these projects are complicated and vague, often requiring architectural solutions and imagery prior to determining the overall programmatic mix or commencing design on any individual program. Architecture\’s prevalent responses to this scale have failed to adequately consider multiple authorship and programmatic indeterminacy. Strategic loss of control has been limited to \”visions\” and \”critiques\” that do not take implementation seriously (e.g. the megastructures of the past), or to promiscuous contraposition of programs in single-authored Big Buildings. Although the latter may attain iconographic status, they rarely succeed in actually \”engineering the unpredictable\” as promised. Urban design more openly navigates this territory with multi-authored, seemingly-heterogeneous \”Mini-Cities.\” However, the Mini-City is usually little more than an architectural zoo: an accretion of screeching, signature works, each trying to be unique but ultimately just different in the same way. As market forces render program and authorship less determinate, these typologies\’ already limited efficacy is only further diminished.If architects overcome the profession\’s imperative to jealously determine all aspects of a design, they can explore the potent ground beyond Big Buildings without surrendering large-scale development to urban design\’s Mini-Cities of non-identical sameness. A new typology — the — Strategostructure — must be pioneered that retains conceptual coherence and credibility even if parts change and size demands multiple authors.Students will collaborate to create a Strategostructure – including six cultural and educational venues – on the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. For the first part of the semester, students will work in pairs to generate a conceptual framework that allows each separately-authored venue to be a healthy component of the Strategostructure. At the conclusion of this effort, the studio will select one conceptual framework to develop further. Over the remainder of the semester, each of the six venues within the framework will be designed by a different student pairing. Changes to the pairings can be made at this transition.During both phases of the semester, students will first identify the core issue(s) at hand, then take positions regarding these issues before responding with an architectural solution. Ultimately, each architectural proposal will be evaluated relative to the core positions established earlier by the respective student pair.The studio will convene on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mr. Prince-Ramus will meet with the studio on one of these days each week; the alternate day will be led by Mr. Jazairy, a Doctorate of Design candidate at the GSD. A studio trip to the World Trade Center site in Manhattan is planned at the beginning of the semester.